There’s something about Peace Corps Ghana that’s caused me to see the world in slightly better, slightly brighter colors ... it’s like being re-introduced to myself.
I didn’t apply because I was soul-searching, but a few welcomed changes have begun to occur. Stealthy and gradual, they reveal themselves in quiet moments like bursts of light through a darkened room. I’m recognizable but my tone has changed. Every experience is like a tiny game of cellular Tetris, shifting and settling until the board fills up – in this case, I can’t lose.
Even if one doesn’t complete service, failure isn’t possible. It’s not about winning or losing, staying or going; it’s about learning something. And no matter how long you stay, no matter what you do while you’re here: you will learn something. That’s the thing about the Peace Corps, the great mystery of the ‘journey.’ One has this magnificent opportunity, like any great leap of faith, to examine two things: the world and oneself.
At some level this is why we all apply, why we’re all willing to challenge ourselves for the better part of two years … I guess it comes down to whether or not we choose to recognize that a journey has occurred and that it was worth it.
I’m of the mind to take everything in stride – even on the worst day. There is always something worth laughing about, something worth leaving the house for - a high-five from the little guy who used to cry when he saw me, the possibility of a Ghanaian understanding American sarcasm, or the people who've learned my name as I pass them on my way to town. If there’s one piece of advice I’d give to new volunteers, it’d be that every day should be taken as an opportunity to greet the world as an old friend and yourself as a stranger.
Sometimes, I come across things I don’t like, but as journeys go, that’s par for the course. More often than naught I realize there are things about myself that I love, things I want to share and develop and adopt permenantly. If there’s one truth I’ve found during my service so far, it’s that if I can survive an open market every three days: I can rule the world.
So, here's to the self-explorer, the world explorer, and the eternal student: you're always welcome here.